Do you know what day it is? Maybe you are unaware of what occurred on April 17 in 1521. It was nothing less than one of the more important stands in history. Mike Rusten reminded me of the story by way of his wonderful resource, The One Year Christian History.
489 years ago today a simple monk was hauled before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to answer for his critical writings of the Roman Catholic Church. The meeting took place in the little town of Worms, Germany. For his opposition to Catholicism, church representatives wanted this monk condemned to death – without even so much as a trial.
After an initial confrontation with the emperor, the simple monk was grudgingly given one day to consider whether or not he would recant of his writings and position. He spent the evening in prayer, and at 6 p.m. the following day he gave this now-famous answer:
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by clear reason (for I trust neither pope nor council alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have cited, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God.
I cannot and will not recant anything since to act against one’s conscience is neither safe nor right.
I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand, may God help me.
In the face of the very real prospect of execution, this simple monk would not waver from his Biblical convictions.
We now all know the story of this brave Christian – Martin Luther. And reading of this story again fuels my desire to be just as courageous when God calls me to make a stand for the faith – which will happen regularly in the life of every Christian.
Mike Rusten reflects ::
God called upon Martin Luther to take a stand before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
Where might God call upon you to stand up for your convictions?
What can you do to prepare yourself for those eventualities?
Good questions that you need to take time to ponder.
Jesus gives this encouragement:
“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. (Luke 12:8-9, NLT-SE)
And Paul proclaims:
Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NLT-SE)
Brother or sister :: When the time comes, maybe even today, to do something as simple as declaring the Gospel that you believe to someone who doesn’t – may you, with love, courage, and strength…stand firm.